Woman awarded €255k damages against dentist

A DENTAL surgeon’s treatment of a patient was found to be negligent and fell below the requisite standards required, a High Court judge ruled yesterday when awarding €255,000 in damages to the woman.

The proceedings were taken by Esther Hammond, aged 61, of Redgap, Rathcoole, Co Dublin, against registered dental surgeon Brendan Bastible, of Greenhills, Co Dublin.

Mr Justice John Quirke said he was satisfied on the evidence of expert witnesses that, as a result of the dentist’s negligence, Ms Hammond’s treatment and recovery from dental difficulties had probably been delayed by about 15 to 20 years. He was satisfied her life and lifestyle had been grossly and continuously diminished during the past 20 years.

The judge found that , in 1991, the dentist had no qualification to enable him properly embark on orthodontic procedures of the kind he attempted upon Ms Hammond, and he still had no such qualification.

He ruled the negligent application of braces was destructive and caused damage to Ms Hammond’s mouth and teeth over a considerable period of time.

As a consequence of the dentist’s negligence, Ms Hammond’s life and lifestyle between 1998 and 2011 had been diminished to an extraordinary degree and she had during that time suffered to an almost “unbearable extent”, he said.

The judge said she would now have to endure a further five years during which she will require significant surgery and other treatment before being restored to the condition she should have enjoyed in or before 1998.

Ms Hammond claimed damages for personal injuries, loss and damage suffered as a result of the negligence and breach of duty by the dentist in his treatment of her between May 1991 and October 1995.

In his defence, the dental surgeon denied he was negligent in the manner alleged and claimed Ms Hammond was guilty of contributory negligence in failing to mitigate her injuries and losses.

The award comprised of €170,000 in general damages; €50,000 for pain and suffering over the next five years and €35,000 to compensate for past and future expenses.

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